Kawase Hasui studied painting under a master of Japanese painting named Kaburagi Kiyokata but later on he studied Western art at the Hakubakai.

In 1919 Hasui chose to work exclusively with woodblock printing. He extensively toured Korea and Japan to study their beautiful scenery and he would take his sketchbook along to record the natural beautiful scenery. He will then create woodblock prints from his sketches. This allowed him to create a tremendous number of landscape prints.

In 1923 there was a great earthquake that destroyed most of his artwork. But Hasui picked himself up and continued to create prints that depicted charming landscapes from all parts of Japan.

The high quality of Hasui’s prints is due to his constant supervision and to his use of many blocks to enhance color gradations. His works also shows the influence of Western painters which meant a change in ideas and techniques for an era of Japanse art history. This made his works fresh and spirited and in 1956, a year before he died, he was honored as a Living National Treasure.


HINOMISAKI IN MOONLIGHT IN IZUMO PROVINCE – Although we do not actually see the moon itself, it casts a lovely blue spell in this evening scene, where the moonlit sea is viewed through the trunks of the pine trees. This is a monochromatic woodblock print, contrasted of a single color that powerfully shows the effects of moonlight on the ocean and surrounding land.

Notice how Hasui made fine patterns of lines on the waves. These lines mark the contours and curves of the water’s surface. The wind swept sky and clouds are represented by flat shapes of contrasting shades of blue. The repetition of the waves creates a gently lulling rhythm. The tree trunks also create a graceful pattern.

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